Shadows of Life

While I was out running this morning my brain began to wax philosophical. I thought I’d share some of the main elements that were rolling through my brain – spurred by seeing my long shadow as the sun rose.

As I saw my long shadow (about 50 feet) I got to thinking about the shadows that people cast in their lives and through history. Interesting things about shadows include the fact that they show the shape of something but remove most of the details and the third dimension. Also interesting is the fact that they are altered by the background upon which they fall and the light from which they are generated. This last thought percolated into this post.

Our perspective on a person will change throughout their life just as a shadow changes throughout the day. In the morning it is long and heading West. In the middle of the day it is very short, or even non-existent. In the evening it is long but facing East. Likewise, we view children through the shadow of possibility that they cast. At first they cast a big shadow of virtually endless possibilities. As they grow the shadow gets shorter as they begin to hone in one specific possibilities. Later the shadow changes from a shadow of possibility to a shadow of accomplishment which grows longer over time.

I realize that my life is at a stage where the shadow of possibility is essentially gone as I have begun to grow the shadow of accomplishment. So far that shadow is still quite small, but over time, as that shadow grows, I will begin to be carried somewhat on the momentum of what I have accomplished. The more momentum I build the more I will be able to accomplish.

As we look at children we try to view something of ourselves in their shadow of possibility – and we may hope to find something more than ourselves within that shadow.

As we look at people from history we try to make sense of the shadow of accomplishment that they cast and find that shadow within their earlier lives.

My thoughts continue to percolate on this subject but nothing more is ready to put into words. Does this make sense to anyone else?

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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2 Responses to Shadows of Life

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is a shadow affected by the back ground it is cast upon? – rough ground, hills, bushes, water? Is our estimation of the shadow of possibility or our interpretation of the shadow of accomplishment, affected by the background upon which it plays? By the interpreters’ level of experience or attitude, or objective? For example when we try to interpret history based on today’s attitudes, or judge someone’s level of achievement not recognizing the magnitude of the obstacles they faced(or the level of support they had) which we have not experienced. Potential and accomplishment are akin to shadows in many ways. Is potential and accomplishment like Triumph and Disaster, as Rudyard Kipling said, “two impostors?”

  2. David says:

    That is exactly what I was thinking about when I said that they are altered by the background. I think that potential and accomplishment may really be two impostors, but we would do well to remember that we are usually acquainted with one of those two impostors more than we are with the real substantive person under consideration.

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